MegaFon seeking loan to buy Alfa's stake-paper

MOSCOW, April 17 Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:57am EDT

MOSCOW, April 17 (Reuters) - MegaFon, Russia's second-largest mobile operator, is seeking a $2-3 billion loan to help finance the purchase of its 25.1 percent stake from billionaire Mikhail Fridman's Alfa-Group, business daily Vedomosti reported on Tuesday.

Alfa-Group wants to sell its stake to billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who already owns 31.13 percent of MegaFon and is discussing an initial public offering, according to local media reports and Reuters sources.

MegaFon can borrow money on more favourable terms than Usmanov's structures, Vedomosti quoted unnamed sources as saying, given the telecoms operator's net cash position.

MegaFon had talked to Russia's biggest lender Sberbank , the newspaper wrote, adding that another state-controlled bank, VTB, was another likely creditor.

The company could later issue bids to refinance the loan and is already talking to banks, Vedomosti said. MegaFon was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova, Editing by Douglas Busvine)